Rhode Island eases outdoors mask rules, per CDC guidelines

Gov. Dan McKee and others wear face coverings outside a vaccination clinic for Electric Boat employees at the Quonset Point business park in North Kingstown April 28, 2021. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — People fully vaccinated against the coronavirus will soon no longer be required to wear face coverings when outdoors in Rhode Island, except when in crowded areas, the state Department of Health and Gov. Daniel McKee said in a statement.

The updated mask policy, made in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, takes effect Friday.

“I hope today’s updated guidance from the CDC will encourage even more Rhode Islanders to get vaccinated,” McKee said in Tuesday’s statement. “Vaccinated people have more flexibility when it comes to when and where they are recommended to wear masks. There are vaccination appointments available today. Don’t miss your shot.”

Someone is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after their final recommended dose, the statement said. A crowded setting is defined as one where someone cannot consistently maintain three feet of distance with others.

Masks are still required at indoor public settings.

___

HEALTH DEPARTMENT DATA

The Rhode Island Department of Health on Wednesday reported nearly 400 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and four more virus-related deaths.

There have now been more than 147,600 confirmed cases in the state and 2,668 fatalities.

Of the 381 new known cases, 304 were people who tested positive for the first time on Tuesday and 77 were people who tested positive for the first time on previous days. The daily positivity rate was about 1.5%

The number of people in Rhode Island hospitals with the disease rose to 148 as of Monday, up from 138 the previous day.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Rhode Island has dropped over the past two weeks from about 461 on April 12 to 266 on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins.

More than 366,500 people in the state have now been fully vaccinated, according to the Health Department.